30 August 2019

Bryan's Story

"I’d planned to end it all – but a chat in the changing room saved my life"
Mental Health | In the Barber Chair
4 MIN READ
 

"I’ve suffered from depression on and off for years but things worsened last October and it was starting to affect my marriage. My wife Louise is my rock and I couldn’t bear the prospect of losing her. I started to think everyone would be better off without me. My wife is a nurse and one night she was on night shift and when she went off to work, I tried to take my life. It didn’t work – Louise found me unconscious when she got back home from her shift and called an ambulance.
 
I was signed off work and I had to have six sessions with a psychologist before I was discharged. I don’t want to discourage anyone from seeking professional support. However, I found the clinic where it took place actually quite intimidating and impersonal. It wasn’t a nice place to be. In that environment, I found it difficult to talk about how I was feeling. No one ever actually asked me how I was.
 
I’m a lifelong Hearts fan and through the club I heard about The Changing Room programme. I went along to the launch night at Tynecastle Park and started on the 12-week course.
 
I remember the first night and everyone was very quiet. Although I knew everyone there was in the same boat, I still had the feeling; ‘Will everyone judge me?” It took a while for everyone to start opening up and talking and feel like it was a safe environment.
 
At the time Hearts weren’t doing that well and it was great for everyone to be able to have a bit of a moan about that first. It was a real icebreaker with the rest of the lads.
 
I found the course was really helpful although I was still in a bad place. In February this year I hit another low point. I really felt I couldn’t go on and made another plan to end my life. But then I remembered that I had arranged to see the lads from the Changing Room that night so I turned the car around and went to see them instead. I told them what I had nearly done and although they were shocked, they were all very supportive.

 
In February this year I hit another low point. I really felt I couldn’t go on and made another plan to end my life. But then I remembered that I had arranged to see the lads from the Changing Room that night so I turned the car around and went to see them instead.
 

I still have my good and bad days. But at least now I have a network of people I can turn to if I’m having a tough time and a ‘toolbox’ of
techniques to help me cope with difficult times. Getting outside and taking a walk helps and I’ve now got two dogs who are like therapy for me. Taking up yoga (which is something I never would have considered in the past) has been fantastic for both my physical and mental health. If it wasn’t for Movember and the The Changing Room programme I wouldn’t be here today. I’m so lucky to have taken part. I’d love for other men to be able to benefit from it."
 
The Changing Room is part of a broader strategy to find the most effective ways of reducing suicide rates and improving mental health in men and boys.
 
Through its Social Innovators Challenge, Movember is trying to work out the most effective ways of improving social connections in men and boys.
 
To that end, Movember has funded 12 pilot programmes that have run throughout Australia, Canada and the UK, over the last two years. The goal is to increase our understanding about what will restore and strengthen those connections.

Bryan's story is part of our new photography series: In The Barber Chair on Instagram. Follow Movember to keep up to date with each post.

If you or someone you know is in crisis, or needs emotional support please contact Samaritans on 116 123.
If life is in danger, call 999 or go directly to emergency services.